When you are injured by a negligent driver, your first concern will be seeking medical attention. However, hospitalization and treatment can mean intense financial challenges that include staggering medical bills, loss of income, vehicle repair costs, and much more. The stress and uncertainty that accompanies an unexpected collision often will be exacerbated by these financial hardships. Far too many people make the mistake of accepting the first offer from the responsible party’s insurance company. Insurance companies know that a quick lowball settlement offer by an injury victim can be an effective strategy for dispensing such claims with the minimum cash payout. In this blog, we highlight key facts accidents that accident victims should know before accepting a settlement offer.
Insurance adjusters like people in other occupations span the spectrum from nice and amicable to disagreeable and insulting, but they share a single primary objective regardless of how they interact with you. Insurance adjusters focus on finding legal and factual grounds to deny or limit the amount their employer pays out on claims. This means that a request that you participate in an interview or sign an authorization for the insurer to obtain documents from your employer, healthcare provider, and others could be used to deny your claim rather than to “process” your claim with any intention of paying a fair amount to cover your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other harm you have suffered.
Beware of Quick Settlement Offers: The other driver’s insurance company might offer a settlement shortly after your accident, but such offers should be viewed skeptically. Insurance companies do not increase profits by paying out settlements fully on all legitimate claims. Any early offer of this type will be based on the insurance company’s estimation that you might receive far more than the settlement offer. The insurer might offer you a check before you have even finished your medical treatment. This check does not come without strings. Typically, the funds will be contingent on your signing a release of liability so that you cannot go back and ask for further damages if your injuries turn out to be worse or your prognosis overly optimistic. While you should never settle a car accident insurance claim while you are still being treated, you should seek legal advice from an experienced car accident lawyer before considering any settlement. The attorney will have the experience and knowledge to estimate a range for the value of your claim and protect your legal rights.
Never Settle without Obtaining Legal Advice: Insurance companies have adjusters, investigators, attorneys, and others that handle a massive number of claims. They have experience valuing claims and use strategies to minimize the amount they pay out on claims. An experienced car accident lawyer will have similar experience handling claims from the victim’s side, so hiring an attorney amounts to balancing the scales of justice. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation so that you can ask questions, get preliminary advice, and learn how to safeguard the value of your claim.
Do Not Sign Anything before an Attorney Reviews the Document: The insurance company might contact you and request that you sign a release of information or other documents to permit the company to investigate and resolve your claim. While it might be appropriate to sign such documents, you should never do so without having them reviewed by an experienced accident injury attorney. The lawyer can explain the jargon, discuss the ramifications of signing the document, and suggest the best way to proceed without damaging your claim for financial compensation
If you have been injured in an auto accident, you should seek legal advice promptly because strict deadlines must be met to preserve your right to financial compensation.
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